Presenting our copywriter of the week, Trish Elms.
How does a Canadian bookworm find herself in Scotland, only to end up as a copywriter in Berlin? “Sometimes on the way to one dream, you get lost and find a better one.”
I’m not sure who said it. But they’re right.
Give me an address, and I’ll get lost.
I’m a disaster with directions. Fortunately, I’m not a taxi driver, I’m a storyteller. But how I became a writer does involve some element of getting lost, gaining perspective, and eventually finding out where I should be.
But who is this Trish Elms copywriting person, anyway? It’s a good question. A big question. One that needs a little look back, to take you forward.
Confession: I was one of those kids. You know the ones – with their nose stuck in a book, swept up in worlds – devouring every delicious word. Words that stirred emotion. That sparked curiosity. Words that made me want to create, connect and inspire.
After writing my first (still unpublished) book, The Life of an Ice Cube, at age seven, I was hooked. Goodbye ballerina ambitions, hello writing.
Truthfully, I had no idea how to actually become a writer. I came from a small town in Canada, from a family of teachers who were cautiously supportive, but secretly terrified. A writer? What will become of her?
I decided the best way to translate my passion for words was to get a degree in English Lit, followed by a post-grad in journalism. Surprisingly these shiny designations didn’t give me any clear indication about what to do next. So I did what any decent lost soul does, I dabbled in creative writing, had a few short stories and poems published in publications in Canada and the UK, then quickly found a proper job to avoid living up (or down) to my family’s fears.
After a short-lived journalism stint in Canada, which included writing riveting revelations about a pair of missing turtles and robbers who help themselves to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I decided the news beat wasn’t quite what I wanted to do. So I swapped reporting for a writing position with the Canadian government. It was a completely different style of writing. I wrote instructional guides, developed internal communications, and oversaw junior writers as the editor of the monthly newsletter. I learned a lot – and worked with some interesting people. But after four years, I needed a change.
Through a series of chance meetings and lasting impressions, life pushed me in a new unexpected direction.
I moved to Glasgow, Scotland with my husband in 2005, where I started working as a copywriter. It’s the place I rapidly honed my writing chops, working for a variety of creative agencies, charities like the Scottish Refugee Council, and national organisations like Learning and Teaching Scotland and TalentScotland.
I also ran a lifestyle blog About a City Glasgow for several years, which was featured on BBC Wales radio as part of their 2014 Commonwealth Games coverage. In a roundabout way, I also got to fulfil my ballerina dreams when I created copy for Barrowland Ballet.
After a few years, I channelled all my acquired skills into a freelance career, which began in Scotland and expanded to Berlin, when I relocated in 2015.
Today, I’m living out my freelance writing dreams in Berlin (with the same husband). I currently help brands in the UK, Europe and North America tell engaging stories to connect with people.
Life in Berlin is Wunderbar. It’s an open city, in all senses of the word. And because of the vibrant startup scene, there’s strong demand for English copywriters. When I’m not working, I love to bike around the city, explore its many parks and lakes, and enjoy the impressive selection of delicious cakes – calorie-free, of course, due to all the cycling! I’m also working on my German and mastering the ukulele.
Over the course of my nearly 20-year writing career, I’ve worked with award-winning creative agencies in the UK and Berlin – like Scholz & Friends and Equator – in addition to public sector firms like Because Berlin and the European Commission’s EU Green Week campaign.
I enjoy helping brands define their tone of voice to stand out and attract new customers. Puma, Universal Music (spinnup) and DHL are just some of the big names you’ll find in my portfolio – as well as ambitious startups like GetYourGuide.
That’s a lot of words, and I’ve enjoyed creating most of them. So it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint a particular favourite. But if I had to choose the darling of the moment, it would be the long-form travel copy I’m currently doing for the Roads App for Porsche.
It’s been great for broadening my knowledge about fascinating spots around the world, like Spain’s Santiago de Compostela pilgrim trek, Taiwan’s UFO Village or the Shaolin Flying Monk Theatre in China.
Interested in finding out more about what I do? Check out my portfolio.